• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Character-led leadership: Celebrating Prof Nnenna Oti

Character-led leadership: Celebrating Prof Nnenna Oti

When you ask most people in our society what it takes to be successful in life, they will tell you with confidence that talent, opportunity and working smarter are some of the primary requirements. On some other occasions, you may have a long list of attributes. While all these attributes are essential, so is character.

With character, all these other attributes help a leader to be successful. Lack of character is a deal-breaker when it comes to leading yourself and others. When character is lost, all is lost. Character, according to leadership experts, is the sum total of all our everyday choices. It’s all about putting right values into action daily. As a good leader you must be consistently consistent in exhibiting your values, ideals, thoughts, words and actions.

I read a book on leadership where it was written that, “people have two reasons for doing anything – a good reason and a real reason.” For anyone to be a good leader when dealing with people, there must be no misalignment between the good reason and the real reason. As you read this article, if you are a leader or aspiring to become one- you need to ask yourself why you want to lead.

There is a big difference between people who want to lead others genuinely and the desire to help them, and people who are in it to help themselves and their families. People who aspire to lead for selfish reasons do so because of power, money, position and prestige. With all these, it is easy for a leader to lose focus.

The Professor ignored any message that came from any powerful individual or organization. She decided that the will of Abia voters would not be subverted under her watch

When we thought it was a lost battle to have some leaders exhibit sterling character worthy of emulation, suddenly the news came up that there is a professor of soil science and environmental conservation who is the vice chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri. The accomplished scholar who refused to be procured to cause chaos in Abia State during the last gubernatorial election was the INEC Presiding Officer in Abia State.

When I read the Professor’s photograph in her doctoral robe with expressions ascribed to her on social media, I thought it was one of those hate speeches spreading around the country. But I later realized that the story was true.

The distinguished professor and INEC Presiding Officer In Abia State was reported to have said: “I’m Professor Nnenna Oti from Afikpo, I am the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, The people’s mandate shall stand”. She also said: “I have spent all my adult life in pursuit of the ideals of good governance.” “We shall stand by the these principles. The pastor in me (she is a Pastor with the RCCG) and the mother in me will not permit me to do anything that will adversely affect the future of our children. I shall do right by God and by man!”

The Professor ignored any message that came from any powerful individual or organization. She decided that the will of Abia voters would not be subverted under her watch. I thought that men and women of integrity are very scarce in our society these days. I am now convinced without any iota of doubt that there are men and women of integrity in Nigeria. I’ve seen one of them.

I salute the courage and integrity of Prof Oti. “I shall stand squarely and unapologetically on these principles,” she stated firmly, as the people of Abia State and well-wishers waited patiently for the election results. Some people want to lead but they don’t have what it takes to lead. The integrity and honesty displayed by Prof Nnenna Oti, never wavering even in the midst of intense confusion seen in the last gubernatorial elections in Abia State, has proven her to be a true leader and an exemplary model of academic excellence.

Read also: Nnenna Nnannaya Oti (Professor) – Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO)

Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India, once said, “You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.” While this expression doesn’t specifically refer to character, it touches on the importance of personal integrity and finding a sense of calm and inner strength amidst the chaos of daily life.

Gandhi also believed that a person’s true character is revealed by their actions, saying, “My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.”

By upholding the highest standards of integrity and exhibiting true courage in the face of opposition, I say with deep respect that Professor Nnenna Nnannaya Oti has earned the trust and regards of most Nigerians, and demonstrated the power of living up to her values.

Going by Plato’s allegory of metals, I believe strongly that Professor Nnenna Nnannaya Oti’s character can be likened to pure gold. May the Professor’s unwavering integrity serve as an anchor and stand strong amidst the tumultuous waves of life’s storms. Thank you.